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Of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION.
HAT Science which treats of the Theology, or
GOD, and teaches the divers find.
Articles of Faith concerning him,
ving of him, is calld by the Greeks, Theology; and by the Latins, Divinity.
This, with the Christians, is call?d Christianity; Christianity. with the Jews, it is callid Judaism; with the
Judaism. Followers of Mahomet, it is termi'd Mabometa-Mahometanism; and the fame among the Heathens, we call nism. Paganism. These are the four great Systems of Paganism. Divinity now in the World, and include all others. Each of which is also callid by the general Name of Religion.
RELIGION is that general Habit of Reve- Religion derence towards the Divine Being, whereby we are fin d. sensible of our Obligations to him, and are both enabled and inclin'd to worship and serve him, after that Manner we conceive to be most agreeable to his Will; that so we may procure his Favour and Blessing, and avoid his Anger and Displeasure. Religion is twofold, viz. Natural Is twofold,viz. and Reveal'd.
NATURAL RELIGION is that which Men Natural Relimay know, and be obliged to by the Light of gion defined. Nature and common Principles of right Reason,
improv'd by Consideration and Experience, without the Ajifance of Divine Revelation. The Substance of Natural Religion is deliver'd under the
two foregoing Titles. Reveal'd Re- REVEAL'D RELIGION is what God has obligion defined. liged us to perform by the Manifestation of his
Will, upon the Consideration of temporal or future Rewards and Punishments. The two great
Parts of which are Faith and Practice. Revelation. The Manner in which God reveals his Mind,
is generally by Vision or Inspiration ; whatever God thus shews to Men, and they commit to Writing, these Writings are said to be inspired, and to contain the reveald Mind and Will of God; and by the Christians these Writings are call's, by
way of Excellency, the Scriptures. The Old Testa
The Scriptures contain two Volumes or Canons of sacred Writings; the first is proper to the
Jews, and is calld the Old Testament ; the other The New Tefia. is proper to the Christians, and is call'd the New
Testament ; and both together we call the Holy
Bible, or (simply) the Bible. The Christians acThe Bible. knowledge the whole Bible, the Jews only the
first Part, for the Word of God. The Divisions The Old Testament contains various particular of the Books of Books, which are divided under the following the Old Testa: general Heads, viz. (1.) The Pentateuch, which Pentateuch,
contains the five Books of Moses, viz. Genefis,
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Prophets for- (2.) The first Prophets, containing yoshua, Judges, mer and latter the two Books of Samuel and Kings. (3.) The
latter Prophets : The greater, as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel : The leller, calld the twelve minor Prophets, viz. Hofea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah,
Jonch, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, The Hagio- Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. (4.) The Hagiography. graphy, which contains the Books of Job, Psalms,
Proverbs, Ecclefiaftes, Canticles ; to which some add the Historical Books of Ruth, Ezra, Nebemiab, Esther, with the Lamentations of Jeremiab, and the two Books of Chronicles, which complete the Old Testament. The Books of the New Testament may be The Books of
the New Testaranged under these following Classes: (1.) Evangelical ; as the four Gospels, by St. Matthew,
Evangelical. Mark, Luke, and John, who are therefore call'd Evangelifts. (2.) Historical; as the Asts of the Historical. Apostles. (3.) Epistolical; as the Epistles of Epiftolical. St. Paul to the Romans, Corinthians II. Galatians, Epbesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians II. Timothy II. Titus, Philemon ; that to the Hebrews, one of James, two of Peter, three of John, and one of Jude. (4.) Apocalyptical ; as the Book Apocalyptical. of Revelations. These complete the Canon of the New Testament.
The Books of the Old and New Testament Scriptures being adjudgʻd authentic, that is, of Divine Au- Canonical and thority, and universally receiv'd by the Christian Apocryphal. Church, are therefore made the Canon or Rule of Faith and Practice in Matters of Religion ; and so they are calld Canonical, in opposition to those contain'd in the Apocrypha, whose Authenticness is doubted, and therefore they are said to be Apocryphal. These are the Books of Tobit, Juditb, Wisdom, Ecclefiafticus, Baruch, two Books of Esdras, two of the Machabees, the Additions to Esther and Daniel, the Prayer of Manafseth, the Story of the three Children, of Susannah, and of Bel and the Dragon. Though the Papists hold these Books to be authentic for the most part, and are therefore most of them receiv’d into the Canon of inspired Writings by the Council of Trent, &c.
Reasons to But that they are apocryphal, and not of prove they are equal Authority with the other, the Protestants apocryphal.
prove by the following Reasons : (1.) Because they were wrote by none of the Prophets, but after Malachi, the last of the Prophets. (2.) Because they were not wrote in the Hebrew Tongue, as were all the other Books of the Old Testament, but in the Greek. (3.) Because the Jews never
receiv'd them into their Canon of authentic ScripRom. iii. 2. tures, yet to them were committed the Oracles
of God, faith St. Paul. (4.) Because they are no where cited in the New Testament by Cbrist or his Apostles; and therefore not acknowledg'd by them. (5.) Because in them we find many Things inconsistent both with themselves and with the Canonical Books: Besides several Ab
surdities, Fables, &c. not worth minding. The Realons THAT the Books of the Old and New Testaproving the ments are authentic, or of divine Authority and InAuthority of, Spiration, the following Arguments sufficiently Old Testament prove, viz. (1.) The Law of Moses was de
liver'd to him by God himself on Mount Sinai, attended with various Wonders and terrible Prodigies, in the open Sight of the whole Congregation of the Israelites; and therefore they could not be imposed on in that respect. (2.) The fame contains the Predictions of various future Events; all which it also proves to have come to pass. (3.) The Books of the Prophets contain several Predictions, which were proved to happen accordingly, both by profane Historians, and the Writers of the Neco Testament. (4.) They say nothing but what is consistent with Moses's Law. (5.) They contain nothing repugnant to the Christian Revelation afterwards made. (6.) They speak with the greatest Reverence of God, always recommend Virtue, and inveigh against Vice. (7.) Their Authority is attested by the Writers of the New Testament. If then the Authority of the latter be good, that of the former must be so too.
But the Authority of the Books of the New The Authority Testament is abundantly prov'd from these evi- of the Books on dent Reasons: (1.) The Writers thereof were
the New Tefiaable to know and write the Truth; because what divers Argu
ment proved by they writ was not of Things in antient Times, in ments. distant or foreign Countries, or done in a Corner ; but in their own Days, in their own Country, in the open View of Multitudes for a long Time; and of which they themselves were Eye and Ear-Witnesses. (2.) As they were not, nor could be imposed on themselves, so neither can they be supposed capable of imposing on others, for the following Reasons. (1.) They were simple, plain, illiterate Plebeians, Tradesmen, and Meibanics for the most part; and therefore could not pretend to Art and Craft enough to impose upon the whole World. (2.) If they were as cunning as you please, 'tis certain their Relation, if fetitious, is very ill contrived, and could never have succeeded as an Imposture. For (3.) there were enough living in and about the same Country and Regions to confute them to their Faces, had their Story been false, and not well-known Matter of fact. (4.) But 'tis plain from many Passages, (as where they speak of their own Failings; their Meanness of Parentage, Person, and Profession; their Contention with each other, &c.) they could have no Intention of Fallacy, or Importure; because it would then have been their Interest to have conceal'd such Particulars. (5.) The Religion which they promulge, prohibits all Lying, under the Penalty of eternal Condeinnation; wherefore if Impostors, they were self-condemned. (6.) 'Tis evident, lince the whole D